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The suspected bomber who turned a stretch of downtown Nashville into a fiery hellscape on Christmas morning played Petula Clark’s 1960s chart-topper “Downtown” moments before blowing up his recreational vehicle, according to a police offer who was at the scene ahead of the blast.
Anthony Quinn Walker, 63, is accused of injuring three people and severely damaged several downtown buildings after blowing up his R.V. early on Friday. No motive in the explosion has been released by authorities. Warner died when his timer-detonated explosive went off.
Over the weekend, a Nashville police officer who helped rescue civilians in the vicinity of the blast recalled hearing the 1964 pop hit playing seconds before the recreational vehicle exploded.
“The music started, and I notified over the [police radio] air to notify other officers,” Officer James Luellen said at a news conference on Sunday. “Then, after the song, it continued to go back to the announcement for a little while.”
Luellen said he didn’t immediately recognize the iconic hit song, and that an ATF agent later helped him identify the track. The music was accompanied by a recorded announcement warning of an imminent explosion, according to the Associated Press.
“What I remembered was, ‘Downtown, where the lights shine bright,’” he said. “Later, the ATF agent I spoke to pulled it up, and … ‘Downtown’ by Petula Clark was the specific song that was played.”
The British singer, expressed her disgust at her song being linked to the bombing.
Warner, who had experience working with electronics and alarms, first emerged as a person of interest on Saturday. DNA found at the site of the bombing linked him to the explosions, investigators said. Human remains were also found nearby.
Detectives remain puzzled as to what led to the holiday bombing. Warner’s song choice, however, could also help shed light on a possible motive.
“We’re still following leads, but right now there is no indication that any other persons were involved,” FBI Special Agent Doug Korneski said. “We’ve reviewed hours of security video surrounding the recreation vehicle. We saw no other people involved.”
Clark’s song plays during a bombing scene in the 1991 Vietnam War movie “Flight of the Intruder.”
Law enforcement is also investigating whether Warner’s decision to detonate his R.V. in front of an AT&T switching station, which led to widespread communications interruptions, could also yield some answers as to his motive.
“To all of us locally, it feels like there has to be some connection with the AT&T facility and the site of the bombing," Nashville Mayor John Cooper said, WTVF reported.
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